On your left Captain America, Chandler Smith is coming in hot.
Besides the obvious physical comparisons between the fictional Steve Rogers, and Captain Chandler Smith, Officer In Charge for the Army Warrior Fitness Team, there is a striking resemblance in the sense of purpose each share as forward-facing members of the military. In training for and competing in the Sanctionals season, Smith is also fulfilling his duties as a recruiting tool for the United States Army.
Warriors wanted: The purpose of the U.S. Army Warrior Fitness Team is to recruit capable men and women as soldiers. Through their training and performances at events, team members are able to physically showcase what a soldier is capable of through hard work and dedication, and it has been a determining factor for Smith as he maps out his season.
- On top of his own training and competing, Smith also helps curate workouts and program for the rest of the team in their training for competition as well.
- Smith: “There’s a lot of factors in planning the season, making sure we all get enough exposure because the members of the team represent multiple paths of success in the Army, but the pendulum also swings towards being able to do well in an event because that’s what gets the most eyes for what we do here.”
Smith garnered plenty of attention in his 2020 Sanctional debut a couple of weeks ago, battling through wrist and ankle injuries to win the Mayhem Classic in impressive fashion. In doing so, he beat out 13 current or former individual games athletes – nine of whom he’s got a playdate with in Madison later this year.
Marching forward: With a win in his back pocket, Smith is taking some time to recover before setting his sights on a full slate of competition at Sanctionals that includes representing the team in multiple divisions on all parts of the globe.
- As an individual: Smith has plans to compete at the West Coast Classic in March, and the Rogue Invitational in May. Both will have highly competitive fields, and Rogue is where he earned his invite to the Games in 2019.
- As a team: Smith and his Army teammates will join forces for the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge in April, before he heads to the Madrid CrossFit Championships to compete on a team with Andrea Nisler, Taylor Williamson, and Travis Williams.
- But wait there’s more: Depending on a few factors still to be determined, Smith could also end up competing on a team for the Army at either the Granite Games or the Asbury Park Summer Games in June.
In total that’s three individual competitions, and as many as three team competitions before the Games. Regardless of whether he ends up competing at five or six Sanctionals this season, it would be the busiest schedule we’ve seen yet on the men’s side. No male individual games athletes competed at more than four events in 2019, and even then only two athletes – Matt Mcleod and Travis Mayer – managed to do so.
A bigger purpose: For an athlete with hopes of a top 10 finish at the Games this year, competing at nearly a half dozen times beforehand might seem excessive. Smith on the other hand, maintains a mindset of gratitude.
- Smith: “I have the honor of getting to train full time. The army’s angle is not to make really good athletes, this is really far from the core purpose of the army,” states Smith,
- On his responsibility: “I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I’m not being asked to do some of the really, really hard things that some of my buddies (in the Army) are being asked to do, and that really makes me feel responsible for maximizing what I’ve got here.”
Either way, we’ll get to see Smith back at the Games as an individual in 2020. As far as the next five months, one thing is certain – the Sanctionals will be treated to a high dose of Chandler Smith on the competition floor, and that’s a win for the Army, and the fans.
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